New £1 coin: impacts on businesses and consumers

Dave Finnegan
Head of Currency Supply Chain Institute - UWE
28th March 2017

According to a survey carried out by Royal Mint during 2015 one in 40 of all the pound coins are fake. The new one pound coin enters circulation today (28th March). It will co-mingle with the old one for a few months. Designed distinctively different in with its 12-sided presentation, it bears to claim a cutting-edge technology with built in high security features. The new coin comes with its pros and cons. Below I outline a few:


Enhanced integrity and counter-counterfeiting value add.

The twelve-sided shape comes with negative impacts on car parks and other vending machine and devices. Not all the machines are ready and each upgrade has cost impacts on the businesses.


Its lighter and thinner.


Its larger than its predecessor.


Compared with the new five-pound note, co-mingling is too short and may create complications.


Not only the coin feels different at touch, its twelve sides provide a distinct step away from the round one pound coin.


A clear rationale for the twelve-sided design is not made available to the consumer on the street.


Change depicts better quality and the design reflects unity, high in demand currently


People don’t have a choice. They just need to go along.

The list can go on, but what should we do now. The key issues are the cost impacts on businesses and how much its costing the tax payer? Are we to await chaotic scenes at the car parks and other vending machines? Moreover, our experience tells us that all new products make high claims about their high security and state of the art cutting edge design and the rest. However, as the time passes by the glitches and loop holes start to emerge. The question is how long will it take for these cracks to emerge on this new twelve-sided coin. How long will it take for the counterfeiters to duplicate this so called highly secure product. Perhaps not too long! 

Should we quietly adapt our systems and machines and move on? Or should we call for a wider debate that the consumer involvement in any future development and design in the currency or any other field is paramount and should not be ignored. After all Sabbath was made for the people! Below, depicted are a few direct impacts on our businesses.

Impact on businesses:

  • Considerable cost impacts on restructuring and reshaping of systems
  • Businesses are having to comply without any options
  • Where is the end-user debate?
  • Where is a compensation or help for the businesses who have to incur extra cost?

Change is always painful and comes with impacts. On a positive note, with every change comes an opportunity to reflect and act or perhaps pro-act in any future top down projects and get involved so the next change is shaped by its consumers and not only few at the top. 

As consumers and those who are impacted by this change, our proactive input would be vital for any future releases and can help shape the currency supply chain products of the future. As consumers, we are not to sit back and change be done to us. We ought to play a proactive role in offering our advice in helping our nation to prosper as its prosperity is correlated with ours? Equally our leaders and decision makers ought to do more in embracing the bottom up knowledge in an enhanced and proactive way ensuring and recognising its value add.

In conclusion, for better and worse, let us embrace this old three penny bit and give her a chance. She is after all reflecting a ‘United Kingdom’ through its design of English rose, Welsh leek, Scottish thistle and Northern Irish Shamrock on one side and our queen’s face on the other. Lets celebrate its announcement for what it is worth. Britain can still do it and revive the Brunel spirit in us all.

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